It is due to the commitment of Count Groeben that the Global Ethic Foundation could be established in Tübingen in October 1995.
In the initial years the focus of the Foundation’s work lay within the further scientific foundation of the Global Ethic project as well as the dissemination of this idea through publications and educational offers. Soon thereafter, the focus was also on the actual implementation of the Global Ethic theme in various areas of society. The first projects emerged, first in the field of interreligious and pedagogical work, then also concerning other topics as well as for other target groups.
FROM IDEA TO FOUNDATION
The beginning of the Global Ethic project is marked by the publication of the book “Christianity and World Religions.: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.” In it, Hans Küng comprehensively engages with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism for the first time (a volume on Chinese religions would follow in 1999). It is the epilogue of this book which contains Küng’s thesis “No Peace Among Nations Without Peace Between Religions,” which was to become the slogan of the Global Ethic project.
Hans Küng initiates his research project “On the Religious Situation of the Time” with publications on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
UNESCO Symposium “No World Peace without Religious Peace” in Paris: this was the first time Hans Küng presents this later program of the Global Ethic project at UN level.
The fundamental concept of the Global Ethic Project is published. With topics such as: “Why We Need a Global Ethos,” “Why Ethic?,” “A Coalition of Believers and Non-Believers,” “World Religions and Global Ethic” it outlined challenges of the time and was translated into 17 languages.
The Second Parliament of World Religions in Chicago adopts the Global Ethic Declaration. This text, written by Hans Küng, is geared towards believers as well as non-believers alike. For the first time in the history of religion a consensus, regarding the questions of ethos, is conveyed by the world’s major religions.
Thanks to the financial support of Karl Konrad Graf von der Groeben, the Global Ethic Foundation is founded in Tübingen. One year later, the Swiss Global Ethic Foundation was established in Zurich.
Hans Küng, and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, incentivised the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government to prepare the proposal for a Universal Declaration of Human Obligations – supplementing the UN Declaration of Human Rights and inspired by the Global Ethic Declaration of Chicago.
In Cape Town the 3rd Parliament of the World Religions makes the Chicago Global Ethic Declaration tangible through its appeal to leading institutions. This included the completion of the multimedia project “Tracing the Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions” comprised of seven television films on the great religions of the world, an interactive CD-ROM and an illustrated book.„Spurensuche. Die Weltreligionen auf dem Weg“ mit sieben Fernsehfilmen zu den großen Religionen der Welt, einer interaktiven CD-ROM und einem bebilderten Sachbuch.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair opens the series of Global Ethic Talks with a major speech on the topic of “Values and the Power of Community.” The talks are jointly organized by the Global Ethic Foundation and the University of Tübingen. By 2021, 15 Global Ethic talks will have taken place.
The Global Ethic project is submitted to the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan assigned an international “group of outstanding personalities” – including Hans Küng – with the task of developing a concept for a new paradigm of international relations. The report is published in German under the title “Signposts for the Future: Contemporary Issues Facing the Church.” A manifesto for the Dialogue of Cultures is published and refers to the Global Ethic project on multiple occasions. In addition, Hans Küng has the opportunity to present the Global Ethic Programme to the UN General Assembly.
Business ethicists and practitioners from the business world develop a Global Business Ethic Manifesto under the auspices of the Global Ethic Foundation. It is presented to the public in New York and Basel and is published under the same title in 2010.
The musical composition “Weltethos” offers a completely new approach to the global ethic theme through classical music: composed by Jonathan Harvey and set to texts by Hans Küng, it is first performed by the Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle with subsequent performances in London and Birmingham.
Thanks to the initiative of the entrepreneur Karl Schlecht, a long-time supporter of the Global Ethic idea, the Global Ethic Institute, founded a year earlier, is opened at the University of Tübingen. This affiliated institute of the University of Tübingen is supported by the Global Ethic Foundation and financed by the Karl Schlecht Foundation.
After preliminary discussions in Tübingen, a Global Ethic Institute is opened at Beijing University (Beida) during the Beijing Forum in Beijing, under the direction of Prof. Tu Weiming: it is a cooperation between the Global Ethic Foundation, Beida, the University of Tübingen, the Karl Schlecht Foundation and the Chinese Sany Group.
Hans Küng begins writing his Complete Works: all of his written work compiled in a 24-volume edition; each volume including an introduction to its individual history. The works are edited by him as well as Stephan Schlensog. The last volume of this work, comprising more than 16,000 pages in total, is published in October 2020, only a few months before Hans Küng’s death.
Hans Küng beginnt die Arbeit an seinen Sämtlichen Werken: einer 24-bändigen Ausgabe seiner Schlüsselwerke, jeweils mit einer werkgeschichtlichen Einführung, herausgegeben von ihm und Stephan Schlensog. Der letzte Band dieser insgesamt über 16.000 Seiten umfassenden Ausgabe erscheint im Oktober 2020, wenige Monate vor Hans Küngs Tod.
In the coalition agreement of the newly elected Grün/Schwarz (politically: green/black) state government of Baden-Württemberg, the Global Ethic Foundation is described as an organization that makes “ground-breaking” contributions to fostering the dialogue between religion and cultures. Since then, the Foundation has conducted a number of successful joint projects together with various ministries.
In order to commemorate Hans Küng’s 90th birthday, the Global Ethic Foundation, organises a festive event, as well as a scientific symposium, together with the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Tübingen. The keynote speaker is the former EKD Council Chairwoman, Margot Käßmann.
In Toronto, 25 years after the proclamation of the Global Ethic Declaration, the 8th Parliament of the World Religions is dedicated to the subject of Global Ethic. Due to the world-wide political urgency of climate change, the Global Ethic Declaration is extended by a directive on sustainability.
A widely attended Studium Generale lecture series “Global Ethic for the 21st Century. A Global Learning Program” provides comprehensive information on the history, issues and perspectives of the Global Ethic project.